Drug paraphernalia for sale... to our kids?

     It's been a while since I wrote a blog due to the fact that I haven't had much to say recently because I have been shockingly content with life for the most part. It seems to me that I only write anything when I feel compelled to bring awareness to a topic that I personally find important. This time it's a topic that has long been disputed. Marijuana.

     First of all, I live in a very, very (emphasis on very) small town in North Carolina. Now, majority of that population is in the 50+ age group, but the rest consists of younger families like my own that are in their twenties with at least one or two children under the age of 5. For instance, I am 29 with a 26 year old wife, and our two year old daughter. It's a quiet little town, that would probably make you have Mayberry-esk thoughts from the old Andy Griffith TV show. It truly is the type of town that you go to bed with your doors unlocked, and where everyone knows everyone. We feel safe as a community. It's a place where you can honestly trust your neighbors and feel assured that when your back is turned, you have others watching out for your well being even though it's not necessary where we live, but thought is what's important.

     Now, having said that, you might be able to understand my shock and dismay in finding that our one and only gas station/ convenience store has just started selling what I would call "drug paraphernalia". I only use that term because it seems politically correct based on the General Statute law of North Carolina that describes such products. In a more understandable language I am referring to bowls, bongs, pipes, etc.

     WAIT A MINUTE! Before you fly off the handle, and start yelling at me for being a conservative republican southern redneck fool, let me clarify something... I am in NO WAY shape or form in protest of people using marijuana in the privacy of their own homes. I am all for the legalization of marijuana, providing that it can be controlled and distributed in a sound environment. I believe that it is our civil liberty as American citizens (although I do not use it), however, my problem lies deeper...

     As I said before, I have a two year old daughter. I go for morning walks with her every day that I'm home from work, and sometimes those walks take us to this convenience store to buy a refreshing glass bottle of Pepsi. We walked in, the door chimed, and I hear "Hey Chuck" come from the mouth of the clerk that knows me because of my patronage. With a smile and a wave of the hand, I grabbed our Pepsi's, and proceeded to the register with my little girls hand in mine. Then I hear her squeaky little voice of innocence ask me "Daddy, what's that?". I looked down and replied "what, baby?" while coming face to face with a slew of colorful glass pipes, and bowls with shiny artwork. Obviously, she's not drawn to them because of interest in the material factor, but rather the colors and shininess of them. Furthermore, they were displayed directly around all the candy bars and sweet things that children love to eat! I was absolutely disgusted with what I saw! I grabbed my daughter up into my arms, and told her "those shouldn't be there sweetie, and you don't need those." I glared at the clerk, and asked him who's idiotic idea it was to not only sell that type of product in our town, but why that person decided to display it in such a careless way as to put it with the candy! He shook his head and said it must have been Andy, the owner. "Rest assured that Andy will hear from me" I yelled. A woman walked up behind me in agreement saying "this has no place in our town".

     I really do not want to be 'that person' who sounds like a huge buzz kill or prude, but the lady behind me is somewhat right. It's not that they are selling the stuff, but it's the fact that it's right in my two year old daughters face!! NOT COOL! if they are going to sell that sort of product, the absolute least they could do, I think, is put them in a glass case in the back room with their silly video poker machine. Furthermore, why would you so blatantly display them beside candy bars and bubble gum where you know children are going to look? If you don't have kids I guess you wouldn't understand.

     The argument I am trying to make is that if the federal government decided years ago that the Marlboro Man, Joe Camel, and flavored cigarettes were to much of an appeal to minors, why can't we as parents convince the government that displaying colorful and shiny paraphernalia in a store were children frequently visit is just as much of an appeal, and then have the stuff either removed, or placed in a more inconspicuous area of the store? Is that to much to ask?

      -And for all you amateur politicians and lawyers, I thought I'd post a link to the NC general statute law, article 5B in reference to drug paraphernalia:
Uploaded 11/10/2011
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